BRUSSELS, April 4 (Xinhua) -- The relationship between the European Union (EU) and China will enter a new phase based on "economic cycle," a European expert has said, commenting on Chinese President Xi Jinping's recent visit to Europe.
Against the backdrop of China's reform and Europe's gloomy economy, bilateral trade would grow on the basis of cyclical trend, Director of the European Center for International Political Economy Fredrik Erixon told Xinhua in a recent interview.
That means "a new phase where we are going to see trade grow at very low level," but "economic reforms or trade deal negotiation of both sides will help the trend of bilateral trade climb up" in the future, he explained.
"It is the first occasion that they both signaled an interest to try to rekindle the relationship between the EU and China," Erixon said, referring to Xi's just-concluded visit to Europe.
He praised the two sides for clinching deals to end the trade disputes over European wine export to China and Chinese export of solar panels to Europe.
Negotiation and cooperation would bring benefits to both China and the EU, as long as "both sides take it step by step and make sure that they take the process forward," Erixon said.
Talking about Xi's wife Peng Liyuan, who accompanied her husband during the visit, Erixon said the first lady of China "tells the story about Chinese culture and expresses to the world what they are as Chinese people."
"That is a strong soft power," he added.
Xi concluded on Tuesday his 11-day visit to four European countries, namely the Netherlands, France, Germany and Belgium. He also visited the Brussels-based EU headquarters and attended the third Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague.